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Latin America and Caribbean unveil ambitious renewables goal

A regional initiative coordinated by the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), and announced during Chile Energy Day at the UN Climate Conference COP25, sets a regional goal for Latin America and the Caribbean of reaching at least 70 per cent of renewable energy in electricity by 2030.

The target involves reaching a total installed capacity of 312 GW of renewables” a significant proportion of which should come from non-conventional renewable energy. Non-conventional renewable energy technologies are considered to be small hydro, solar, wind and organic waste.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Latin America and the Caribbean hold tremendous renewable energy promise. IRENA’s “Future of Solar Photovoltaic” report highlighted that the region’s solar energy capacity alone could grow by a factor of 40 by 2050 to more than 280 GW thanks to an abundant resource endowment and strong enabling policies.

Several Latin American countries are already in the top ten global renewable energy investment list, according to IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera, demonstrating the energy transformation momentum that exists in the region.

“This initiative encompasses the type of sizable commitment needed in order to keep global climate efforts on track and help achieve the Paris Agreement goals,” he said. “More than 230 gigawatts of its power already comes from renewable sources.”

La Camera commended Colombia for its driving force behind the establishment of this new goal, which has the support of Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, and Dominican Republic, while Panama and Brazil are in discussion. He said Colombia’s renewable energy auctions, which have resulted in the procurement of more than 2 GW, are an “inspiring example for other countries in the region.” Colombia has proposed a goal of at least 4 GW by 2030 from non-conventional renewable energies domestically, reaching 74 per cent of renewable energy nationwide in the power generation grid.

Caribbean islands, together with other small island development states (SIDS), are suffering the impact of extreme weather events, despite their negligible carbon footprint. Several islands, including those in the Caribbean, plan to go 100 per cent renewables, including Aruba, Dominica, Grenada and Montserrat.

Kelvin Ross
Kelvin Ross is Editor-in-Chief of Enlit Europe and Power Engineering International. A journalist for more than 30 years, he has worked on regional, national and international newspapers, as well as trade magazines serving sectors including insurance, shipping, health and financial markets. He has covered the energy sector for more than 10 years. He helped establish Energy Live News in the UK before joining PEi and he has been ranked among the top 100 global influencers on Twitter for 'renewable energy' and 'smart grid' topics.